With the end of one presidential administration and the beginning of another, stress, anxiety, fear, and frustration are at an all-time political high. While some will choose to process this transition by themselves or with loved ones, others plan to take it to the streets and protest in various marches all around the world. According to a USA Today poll, “an estimated 1 million people plan to demonstrate in all 50 states and 32 countries.” This weekend’s main event, the Women’s March on Washington, is anticipating at least 200,000 individuals alone! Whether their focus is women’s rights, immigration, education, or any number of other causes, people are banding together this weekend, in particular, to march for social justice and civil rights.
During Trump’s campaign, he vehemently spouted words of hate, mocked those with disabilities, bragged about sexual assault, expressed inflammatory xenophobic, racist, and nativist rhetoric, and gave others permission to behave similarly. This wasn’t just a show to gain votes as his policies and cabinet nominees have since supported such conservative, capitalistic, and discriminatory ideologies…and people aren’t standing for it.
Finding something you believe in and then doing something about it takes so much courage. I grew up in a political family with parents who worked in government, and I have always been politically active both organizing and participating in various protests since high school, if not before. I’ll be honest, between moments of excitement and empowerment there are also times when I felt unsafe or uncomfortable. As thrilling as marching can be, it can also be a little scary. I encourage you to listen to those feelings. Whether you go out and take to the streets or decide to stay put, take care of yourself and consider the following tips:
Keep your cool. Stay to the edges of the crowd. Don’t offer personal information to anyone. Have a meet-up plan if you’re separated from your group. Don’t count on your cell phones. Write key information on your forearm in Sharpie. Stay warm and hydrated. Bring snacks. Never pass up an opportunity to use the toilet. Wear the right shoes. Leave if you have any doubts about anything. Peace be with you.